Archive | June 2013

Planting Grapes

I have been wanting to add some fruit trees or bushes to our garden area for some time.  At the same time, I’m kind of scared to do it.  Trees are fairly permanent and I really have no design for how I would like things to be.  I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants gardener.  I want a lot of different stuff, but it all takes time and money.  I don’t always have the time or desire to work after I have hastily purchased the crop.  For example, for many years I bought all of the garden stuff–miracle grow, compost, bamboo stakes, etc. only to be gung-ho in the beginning and then it is a huge mess of weeds by the end of the growing season.  I am trying to mend my ways.

This year I finally purchased the grapes that I have been wanting off and on for years.  They were on clearance from Lowe’s for $3 for a gallon container.  I am super excited.  I have been reading about growing grapes in our area.  I purchased a soil analyzer.  Our pH is 7.  I never knew that before.  Grapes here like it at 6 to 6.5.  Thankfully, not too much of a difference.  I just found out our neighbor has grapes that have done well, so that is encouraging.

I enlisted the big kids to help me get going.  They dug the holes for the plants.  They drove the fence posts into the ground and A actually put the plants into the ground.  She is such a plant lover.  She notices every flower we pass.  She loves being in the garden.  She is all about the details.  For example, I had the kids dig down one foot.  We placed some soil acidifier in at the 12 inch mark, then replaced about 6 inches of soil to let the roots get started. As we replaced the dirt, A sprinkled the rest of the soil acidifier around the grape bundle.  We did this same process on all 3 plants.  She watched each boy (the 3 older each did one complete plant).  She made sure they had all of the steps done in order.  She corrected them if they went out-of-order or didn’t do everything exactly correctly.  They get annoyed with her, but she pays attention and knows what to do and when to do it.

Here are some pictures.

Concord Grapes bought on clearance for $3 each.

Concord Grapes bought on clearance for $3 each.

Digging the holes.

Digging the holes.

Making sure the holes were dug 12 inches deep.

Making sure the holes were dug 12 inches deep.

Sprinkling soil acidifier in the soil.

Sprinkling soil acidifier in the soil.

A explaining the process to J.

A explaining the process to J.

After planting, but before we had them up on the  wire.

After planting, but before we had them up on the wire.

Grapes on the stakes.

Grapes on the stakes.

Grapes strapped to the wire.

Grapes strapped to the wire.

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Updated Garden Pictures

Lettuce, Spinach, and Peas

Lettuce, Spinach, and Peas

 

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Dill, Cilantro, and Red Peppers

Dill, Cilantro, and Red Peppers

 

Zucchini, Watermelon, and Cucumbers

Zucchini, Watermelon, and Cucumbers

 

Zucchini and Watermelon

Zucchini and Watermelon

 

Green Peppers

Green Peppers

Potatoes and a view of the field next to our house.

Potatoes and a view of the field next to our house.

 

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

 

Concord Grapes

Concord Grapes

 

Here are the updated pictures.   It is pretty amazing how much things have grown.  I am still trying super hard to stay on top of the weeds.  The kids have been doing exceptionally well keeping up with their weeding and watering.  I am trying to train the vines to go up the bamboo stakes so that they wont grow on to the grass and inhibit our ability to mow.  I start off well each year, then get lazy and it goes south from there.  This year we are doing better.  I hope this trend continues.  It is actually fun to go out and see the garden and how things are coming along!

Working In The Garden

We have been weeding the garden faithfully.  I am hoping to stay motivated to keep it weeded.  I start out great each year, but then start slacking.  This year each kid planted a garden box and they are responsible for watering and weeding.  It doesn’t take long and then they can mark it off of their job list.  We have been going out each evening  to water as a family and I  get any weeds they miss.

These pictures are from a couple of weeks ago.  I will take some new pictures and post them soon.

zucchini and squash

Zucchini, Watermelon, and Squash

Lettuce, Spinach, and Peas

Lettuce, Spinach, and Peas

Tomatoes a couple of weeks ago.

Tomatoes

J and A watering the garden.

J and A watering the garden.

We also planted sweet potatoes, 2 bins of potatoes, and a start of rhubarb from a friend.

I am super excited that I was able to buy 3- 1 gallon planters of concord grapes that were on clearance from Lowe’s for $3 each.  I am researching reducing the pH in the soil.  I purchased a soil tester and my soil is 7 and I need it to be between 6 and 6.5.  I am keeping them in their current pots until I get the pH corrected.

Feeling Great!

We have been off of school for a week now!  I am enjoying driving the kids around much less!  We have set up a routine where the kids do an hour of reading, some chores, some school work, and then a project that I want to work on for a while, and then something fun for the kids. The bigger kids also have special  projects that they are working on in addition to what the little ones are doing.  For example, M is working on his Eagle Scout project, J is working on College stuff, and R is working on getting more organized. So far it is working well.  I have an excel spreadsheet on the fridge with boxes for each kid to mark off.

Here are a couple of pictures of our leisure time reading and working on projects.

J and S reading and enjoying leisure time this summer.

J and S reading and enjoying leisure time this summer.

A buried herself in cushions to read because she was freezing cold.

A buried herself in cushions to read because she was freezing cold.

So far we have been to our local Y’s outdoor pool.  The little ones loved it, but the big kids said it was freezing.  Since they were out of the water, it gave us some much-needed time away from the little ones just to talk.  It was nice.  We also went to a local flea market where my oldest works on the weekends.  We waved to him while we were there, which was super fun for A.  Girls are so much different from boys.  Here are a couple of shots of the flea market.

Pony rides for $5.

Pony rides for $5.

A riding "Chocolate Chip"

A riding “Chocolate Chip”

A loving on a horse statue.

A loving on a horse statue.

A hanging on a gorilla statue.

A hanging on a gorilla statue.

A getting her picture taken with a snowman in June.  Only in Ohio.

A getting her picture taken with a snowman in June. Only in Ohio.

We are off to a great start this summer!  Now to stay consistent.  It is not easy for me, but with a plan it should be easier.  Here’s to some much-needed rest and relaxation!

We Are On Summer Vacation!!!

Today is our first day of summer vacation.  I have been super busy over the month of May.  But as of today all of our school stresses are over.  Also, Cub scouts are done for the summer.  American Heritage Girls are done for the summer.

While there are a lot of things that I wont have to do like get up for school, quiz the kids on school work, help with school projects etc.  there  are some things that are in full swing now.  We have to get our 4H projects up and running.  We have to have J study for the ACT, look for colleges, find a newer vehicle, apply to colleges, apply for scholarships etc.  That will keep him busy all summer, I’m sure.

I am planning on keeping fit.  My friends and I are working on a workout schedule for the summer.  So far we plan to workout at 7 or 8 am,  5x per week.  I am planning on doing Cross-Fit 2x per week, a spinning class 1x per week, a long run on Saturdays, a 3 mile run 1x per week, and sprints 1x per week.  That should help me achieve my goal of running the 5k without stopping by the end of the year.

I am excited to be less scheduled than I have been.  The kindergarten year of being at school 3x every day has worn me out!  The good news is that I don’t have to do that schedule for 5 years when L is in Kindergarten.  In the fall everyone except L will be in school all day.  It is good, but a little sad at the same time.  This is the first time in 14 years that I won’t be at school during midday to pick up a preschooler, a pre-kindergartener, or a kindergartener.

I’m ready to have some fun, relax, and get some stuff done around this house.  I have my garden in and I will include pictures in my next post.

Here’s to a fun summer!